August 2023, Volume 25, Issue 7

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 Table of Contents

A Message from Your FSA President

Shane Williams, FSA PresidentWelcome to FSA’s 2023-24 year! I’m honored to serve as President for the year and want to say thank you for the opportunity. A growing and active membership is vital to our success, and I am pleased to say that our membership is doing both. Our membership has reached a record number of organizations, and we had an unprecedented number of members volunteering their time this year to serve on a FSA Committee! Over the next year, my Action Plan will continue to focus on member engagement and growth by implementing strategies and tactics identified in the FSA strategic plan to meet the Strategic Plan Goals.

I would also ask that all of us look within our organizations for coworkers who have not participated in a seminar or conference and invite them to do so. Also please consider sending your employees to the excellent training opportunities provided by the Fogarty Training Center.

Upcoming issues of the FSA fastTracks newsletter will include updates from your Committee Chairs that will lay out their committee’s objectives and planned activities. If you have volunteered to serve on a committee, thank you! Please help your Committee Chairs deliver the Action Plan this year. If you have not yet served on a committee, please consider doing so in the future.

The coming years may see significant changes in stormwater management and FSA’s conferences and seminars will continue to provide a forum for you to collaborate with your colleagues on solutions to stormwater challenges. I hope to see you at the Fall Seminar, Winter Conference, and Annual Conference in Sanibel next June.

In closing, I would like to thank the management staff whose tireless efforts have contributed so much to the success of FSA. I also want to thank you for being a member and for your continued support and commitment to FSA.

Shane Williams, FSA President

FSA's Fall Seminar Attendee Registration Reaches Capacity

The Fall Seminar will be held September 8, 2023, in Kissimmee, FL. The sold-out Seminar will focus on Navigating the Statewide Stormwater Rule. Excess nutrients are the leading cause of impairment in our surface water bodies and are a growing concern in groundwater and springs. It is critically important that stormwater treatment standards are enhanced to meet the intent of the original and current statewide stormwater rule and provide for increased levels of nutrient removal, better protection of groundwater, incorporation of green infrastructure, and more consistent and comprehensive best management practice design criteria throughout the state.

Initiated through the 2020 Clean Waterways Act (SB 712), the revised statewide stormwater rule sets a framework for stormwater management and increased nutrient removal throughout the state of Florida. The final draft rule published in March 2023 and adopted by the Department of State, now requires ratification by the 2024 Legislature. The Seminar will review the updated rule revisions and how they will impact MS4s from project development and effectiveness to operations and maintenance.

If you would like to be added to the waitlist, please visit the FSA Seminar page and fill out the waitlist form. If you are unable to join us in September, we hope that you will consider joining us for FSA’s Winter Conference to be held November 29 – December 1, 2023, in Kissimmee, FL – save the date, details coming soon!

Get Ready for the New Statewide Stormwater Rule

The state adopted (yet not effective) Statewide Stormwater Rule sits waiting for rule ratification, during the 2024 Legislative Session. The adopted rule, published in March 2023, was scheduled for ratification during the 2023 Legislative Session, but that did not happen. The rule is not effective until legislative ratification, meaning any changes to the certified rule will require a full reset of the process, including a new review and comment period, and another chance to challenge the rule. Changes to the current adopted rule will delay the new rule from being effective beyond 2025. Visit the Statewide Stormwater Rule section of the FSA Advocacy page for complete history of how we got here. 

FSA Membership Renewals Have Begun!

Keep your membership current and don’t miss any of the great member services that are available to ALL of the employees in your organization! First renewal notices for FSA’s 2023-24 fiscal year were sent in mid-August by email to the primary contact for your organization. These early notices were sent to allow local government members to pay next year’s dues with remaining funds from the current fiscal year. If you are the primary contact for your organization, keep an eye on your inbox for renewal emails from FSA. Questions? Call us at (888) 221-3124.

Winter Conference - Registration Opening Soon!

Save the date for FSA’s 2023 Winter Conference! The conference will be held November 29 - December 1, 2023, at the Embassy Suites Orlando Lake Buena Vista South in Kissimmee. FSA’s conferences are focused on stormwater education and will host an array of workshops to meet all of your continuing education needs. Mark your calendars now so you don’t miss out! Registration will open in September!

2024 Legislative Session - Interim Committees Meet Next Month

During non-election years, Legislative Committee meetings and the subsequent Session start early. For the 2024 Legislative Session, Interim Committee meetings will begin the week of September 18, 2023, and the Session itself convenes on January 9, 2024. Watch FSA’s member-only legislative webpage for 2024 legislation tracking coming soon!

EPA and USACE Issue Final WOTUS Rule

On August 29, 2023, EPA and the USACE issued a “good cause” final rule narrowing the definition of WOTUS to align with the Supreme Court’s decision in Sackett v. EPA, which eliminates the "significant nexus" test for determining whether any waters are jurisdictional while also excluding "adjacent" wetlands and "interstate wetlands" from the definition of jurisdiction waters. View the pre-publication version of the rule and EPA's Fact Sheet to learn more. The action is final, meaning it bypassed the Administrative Procedure Act’s (APA) notice and comment process. Under the APA, agencies can enact final rules without taking comment on a proposed version in limited cases, including where the agency has “good cause” to believe that the notice and comment process would be “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.” It is likely that challenges from industry and/or environmental groups will follow. FSA continues to track WOTUS and post information in the WOTUS section of the FSA Advocacy page. EPA is holding a webinar to discuss this new rule and the updates made from this action, and registration can be found here.

Florida Springs Litigation

The ongoing litigation concerning springs Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs) continues to move forward. Earlier this year, a decision from the appeals court was made concerning five springs BMAPs (Volusia Blue Spring, Santa Fe River Basin, Silver Springs and Upper Silver River and Rainbow Spring Group and Rainbow River, Suwannee River, and Wekiva Spring and Rock Springs BMAPs) that required FDEP to update the BMAPs with more detailed allocations. On June 30, 2023, FDEP proposed a new order to address the appeal decision, which included information and updates for all five BMAPs. At this time, there is a threat to challenge three of the five BMAPs – the Suwannee, Santa Fe, and Silver/Rainbow – and a decision on the challenge has not been made at this time. A link to the June 30th Order can be found on the FDEP BMAP webpage (listed in the BMAP Documents area for each specific BMAP).

Water Quality Funding Resources

The cost to develop and implement projects is overwhelming, from doing needed infrastructure updates, implementing water quality or quantity restoration projects, to installing new technologies like Green Infrastructure. All require excessive dollars from beginning to end. Funds are available, from federal resources, like the BRIC or Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, to the Florida specific sources, mostly through FDEP’s grants and assistance programs. FDEP’s website on Water Project Funding Sources provides information on a variety of funding sources for local water quality projects, including planning, construction, and public education. FDEP typically initiates funding opportunities during the summer months after the state budget has been finalized. The state funding effort has just been completed, with many of the programs having deadlines for the end of August or early September. The Protecting Florida Together website provides links to each program and has application portals relevant to the application process. Reach out to FDEP staff today to find out more about each program to get prepared for the next funding cycle.

Seagrass General Permit

On August 23, 2023, FDEP held a second Seagrass General Permit rulemaking workshop to review and discuss changes made from the last rule version and take comments from attendees on the presented draft rule. FDEP focused on updates to the draft rule, including changes to the size of the restoration site area, increasing monitoring and reporting requirements, and not allowing the usage of exclusion devices. FDEP noted that more changes will most likely happen after the meeting, and rule revisions will be posted for review. Stakeholders can submit comments to FDEP until September 6, 2023. FDEP noted that they are working to complete this rule effort by the end of this year and finalize the administration and approval process by early 2024. More information can be found on the FDEP Rules in Development page.

Petition to List CWA Pollutants

An item that has historically been a hot topic in Florida is water quality standards. While this is not an update specific to the state, there are efforts to push EPA to adopt and update many more regulated pollutants listed under the Clean Water Act. Two environmental groups, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and Northwest Environmental Advocates submitted a petition on July 31, 2023, requesting EPA adopt over 1,000 new pollutants, including adding an additional 700 plus pollutants to both the toxic pollutant list and the priority pollutant list. EPA has not responded to this request, which would be a significant increase in the number of pollutants, and if this were to move forward, would take significant time and energy to adopt, and would most likely end up in litigation.

New Case Studies on Innovative Uses of CWSRF to Address NPS Priorities

EPA released two state specific case studies on how states are using their Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) programs to cost-effectively address their largest water quality problems: nonpoint source pollution.

State Science Fair - Engineering Judges Needed

Join more than 250 judges in 13 scientific disciplines for this year’s State Science and Engineering Fair (SSEF) of Florida. By volunteering for only one day, you can play an important role in encouraging these students to become the future science and engineering leaders of tomorrow. Judging will take place at the RP Funding Center (Lakeland) starting at 8:00 AM and lasting through 5:00 PM on Wednesday, April 3, 2024.

Not familiar with the State Science and Engineering Fair? At the 2023 state competition, there was a total of 87 projects from Florida (state and regional fairs) with 28 winners. More than 900 aspiring engineers, scientists, and mathematicians from across Florida compete in the SSEF STEM Competition. Students have an opportunity to win $1.2 million in awards, prizes, scholarships, and internships. The top senior projects will advance to the Intel International Science and Engineering (ISEF) STEM Competition. For more information visit the program page or email Kelly Cranford.

Fogarty Training Center – Last Chance to Renew Stormwater Operator Certification for 2023

Level 1 Manual

Level 2 Manual

Don’t let your FSA Stormwater Operator certification expire! The last opportunity to renew in 2023 will be through online webinars held on November 7, 2023. FSA Certifications must be renewed every five years. The Fogarty Training Center offers Online Recertification Webinars that provide a convenient, cost-effective way to renew your certification. Register for Level 1 and/or Level 2 today!

Not sure when your certification expires? Log in to your personal FSA profile, scroll down to find your Level 1 and/or Level 2 expiration year or you can view the Stormwater Operator Certification Renewal Date List

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